Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

Kipling invents the soldier

From A Soldier’s Mamories by Major-General Sir George Younghusband K.C.M.G., K.C.I.E., F.R.G.S., etc. (1917) And now for a curious thing. I myself had served for many years with soldiers, but had never once heard the words or expressions that Rudyard Kipling’s soldiers used. Many a time did I ask my brother Officers whether they had […]

‘The House by the River’

Last year I gave a paper at the Oxford War Poetry conference, about the ways that war poets were depicted in novels of the twenties. I gave it the title ‘I too am a murderer’(a quotation from Patrick Hamilton’s Rope) – but I had no idea then that there was a 1921 in novel in […]

Eliot, Lawrence and ‘Lady Chatterley’

From the forthcoming BBC version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover Last week’s Times Literary Supplement included a recently rediscovered 1927 essay by T. S. Eliot on modern British novelists. Eliot’s judgement on D. H. Lawrence is devastating:

Kate Macdonald defends Buchan

Worth listening to is the new Guardian podcast, in which Kate Macdonald and Robert McCrum talk about John Buchan and The Thirty-Nine Steps. Kate makes a good case for Buchan, and defends him against charges of Anti-Semitism. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.

‘Loyalties’

John Galswortnhy’s 1922 play Loyalties includes one of the more interesting twenties portrayals of an ex-soldier. Captain Ronald Dancey has most of the military virtues – dash, courage, resolution – but has not done well in the peacetime world. The play brings him into conflict with Ferdinand de Levis, rich and successful in everything he […]

Unfair to Bloomsbury

In yesterday’s episode of Life in Squares, the BBC drama serial about the Bloomsbury Group, the First World War came and went. It incommoded them slightly, one gathered. The chaps had to get themselves muddy on a farm, pretending that they were doing work of national importance to avoid conscription, and all of them got […]

Who is ‘A.C.A.’?

Here’s the beginning of an article in the Times for 29th September, 1914: In all, the paper prints six of these efforts, each putting topical words to a traditional tune. So who is ‘A.C.A.’? If he’s familiar to officers from their schooldays, does this make him the author of a textbook, or perhaps the editor […]

Allan Monkhouse at the Finborough.

Annie Horniman The tiny Finborough Theatre in West London is one of my favourites. Like the Orange Tree at Richmond, it finds part of the British theatrical heritage that the National Theatre and the RSC don’t seem to be remotely aware of. This September and October, the Finborough programme will include Horniman’s Choice, a quartet […]

Hooray for Drivel

‘Mr. Robert Graves is interested in the ‘ballads’ that came into existence among the British troops during the war, but these are the merest drivel as he would agree.’ John Spiers, Scrutiny (June 1935)

C. S. Forester: Randall and the River of Time (1951)

A few days ago I complained that C.S. Forster had chosen to ignore the military achievements of the last hundred days of the War when he write The General, his attack on hidebound military incompetence. In Randall and the River of Time, written fourteen years later, he made up for this by giving a very […]

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